The African Media Initiative and the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications has concluded arrangements to co-host the ”Reporting Africa” conference in Kenya to discuss how Africa is covered by regional and global media.
The 2016 conference will bring together media practitioners from across the continent. ”The conference will seek to explore ways in which African media can assertively showcase the continent’s reality from an African perspective, and promote development and good governance,” the organizer noted, further stating that ”AMI and the Kenyan Ministry of Information have undertaken to partner in this event in order to boost media coverage of development issues, inform the media’s engagement with governments and encourage the use of data.”
Dr Fred Matiang’I, Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary said while visiting AMI headquarters in Nairobi that liberal democracy has reduced the traditional dichotomy that in the past pit governments against media.
According to him “no government succeeds without participating in the information space. The media largely controls this information space, and governments must therefore actively engage with and promote a free and vibrant media in our societies.”
African media have in the past been criticized for adopting a western mode of reporting that robs the continent of its authentic voice in presenting African stories to the world.
AMI’s Chief Executive Officer, Eric Chinje, said that the ”Reporting Africa” conference will seek to rally African journalists to step out of the norm and be bold in reporting on the continent.
”We must remain at the forefront in telling stories that have real impact on African audiences. This means focusing on issues that truly matter to Africans, such as health, infrastructure, agriculture, and governance, as opposed to sensational stories that have the potential to go viral, but make little impact,” he added.
AMI and Dr. Matiang’i also discussed progress on the host country agreement that would confer diplomatic status upon AMI to ease its operations in Kenya.
He assured the AMI team that the agreement was on course, and reiterated the Kenyan government’s commitment to supporting AMI’s work in Kenya and on the continent.